Tennis Proves They Can Play with Division I

    For most Division II sports programs, the idea of squaring off against a Division I opponent seems ludicrous. For even more, the idea of actually competing with such a program seems like a dream.

    Tyler Huff

    This is not so for the UCSD men’s tennis team.

    The Tritons took on Division I Boston College on Saturday and were narrowly defeated by a score of 4-3.

    The loss brought the Tritons’ record down to a still respectable 6-4 for the year.

    Doubles was truly a battle of attrition for both teams. In all three match-ups, there were ups and downs. In the end, Boston College took two of the three pro sets.

    No. 1 doubles was an epic affair that pitted Sameer Chopra and Dan Albrecht from UCSD against Justin Slattery and Jason Cowett of Boston College.

    During the first six games, there were virtually no opportunities for a break, so the teams were tied at three after these games.

    That all changed when Albrecht smashed an overhead straight down into the court and over the fence to give the Tritons a service break.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t last as they gave that break right back on Chopra’s serve in the next game, and again the match was deadlocked. The score was 5-6 when Albrecht’s serve was broken to make it 5-7. From there, the hard-hitting Slattery served out the match 8-5 for Boston College.

    No. 2 doubles looked like it would be over quickly when Mike Meyer and Jeff Wilson were quickly down 0-4. The two fought back and got within a game at 6-7, but in the end the hole they dug early was too great to overcome, and they lost the match 6-8.

    The Tritons enjoyed better luck at No. 3 doubles, where Amir Nejad and Everrett Schroeter won 8-4.

    In singles, the Tritons got wins from Meyer at No. 2, Wilson at No. 3 and Schroeter at No. 6, but came up one win short of an overall victory.

    Head coach Eric Steidlmayer was disheartened by the loss, but not by the competition nor by his team’s effort.

    “”I expected to have a tough match,”” Steidlmayer said, “”and it was that. [Boston College] played with good heart, and with good effort. We were nearly there in the victory circle but couldn’t quite pull it off. I thought that they were a solid team, much like the better teams in the [California Collegiate Athletic Association.]””

    The loss to Boston College came a day after a tough-fought battle with cross-town foe San Diego State. The Tritons fell to the Aztecs 6-1. This match was not originally scheduled but was played because both teams had so many rainouts earlier in the year.

    The Tritons were obviously outmatched against Division I San Diego State, but Steidlmayer took some definite bright spots out of the match.

    “”We gain a lot from playing State,”” Steidlmayer said. “”Some learn that they can play with those guys, some learn what they need to improve.””

    Steidlmayer was particularly impressed with the performance of Meyer, who is just returning to health after a surgery that he had in September. Meyer put together a solid three-set win against Travis Hasson of San Diego State at No. 2 singles and teamed up with Wilson to win 8-3 at No. 2 doubles.

    “”Both wins [against Boston College and San Diego State] demonstrate that he is moving in the right direction,”” Steidlmayer said of Meyer. “”But it is his effort in practice to concentrate and focus on the things he needs to work on that is making him better.””

    The Tritons now have a long layoff throughout the rest of the quarter and into Spring Break. Their next match will be here at home on March 30 against an old familiar Division III rival, Gustavus Adolphus College of Minnesota. This match should be an excellent indicator on how far the Tritons have grown in the last year. So get out of your dorm room and spend a wonderful sunny day watching some great tennis and rooting the Tritons back onto the winning path.

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